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EP Advisory

Bonjour, Paris! All about employment in France

Job abroad

France is one of the most attractive countries in Europe because of its beauty, standard of living and culture. It is generally considered off limits to foreigners, but if you know the peculiarities of the local career market, finding a job is a reality.

In this article, Nina Shevchenko, an HR director with 7 years of experience in the country, explains the practicalities of finding employment in France.

Labour market trends in France

The pandemic has not worsened the employment situation in France at all. On the contrary, the country recorded one of the lowest percentages of unemployment in 2021, according to the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Research Insee.

One of the pluses for job seekers in France is that job vacancies are spread fairly evenly across the country, and nature lovers can find work outside major cities. The easiest places to find a job are Paris, Toulouse and Lyon.

An advantage for emigrating to France would be having a popular or unusual profession.

The main areas where there is a shortage of professionals in this country can be found here.

In 2021, the most in-demand professionals according to LinkedIn were:

  • real estate professionals
  • retailers
  • logisticians
  • online marketers in various areas
  • engineers
  • specialists in artificial intelligence.

The number of job offers in each area also depends on the region. For example, the Ile-de-France (in the centre of the country) is most in demand in the multimedia field, and in Occitanie (south of the country) - in the service sector.

3 ways of looking for jobs in French companies


Networking is the most effective way of finding employment in France for both students and experienced professionals. Two factors are important: your network of contacts should be as large as possible and include lots of French people. France is quite conservative in this matter.

It is also quite realistic to get a job in France through recommendations from Russian-speaking professionals.

Do not hesitate to join the Russian-speaking professional community; you will be welcomed into their ranks and you can build up such links remotely, even before you move.

When I graduated from university in Paris, it was networking that helped me to get a permanent contract. I was recommended by a person from a company, and I got a job, even though the vacancy had not been advertised.

Nina Shevchenko

Local job search sites and LinkedIn

A lot of vacancies are posted by French companies on LinkedIn, but many offers can also be found on international and local job sites. The most popular sites for people with higher education are:

For all candidates:

Career fairs

Career fairs are also a good way to find a job or build networking skills. During the pandemic, many fairs were held online, but offline events are already taking place in universities and beyond, and recruitment experts highly recommend attending them. Face to face, it is much easier to make a good impression on a potential employer.

My recommendation is that students should attend all business events organised by their university and meet business leaders. I would also advise that they should start looking for a job in the middle of their final academic year. There is a lot of competition among young professionals, so it is better to start looking in advance. If you currently have little or no professional experience, feel free to talk about your volunteer experience, for instance, it's very welcome too.

Nina Shevchenko

How to get a job in France: cultural considerations

Understanding and following the cultural code

Like any country, France has its own specificities in business etiquette and it's crucial to understand them in order to integrate professionally.

For example, a culture of presence is very important here. For the French, work is not just a professional milieu but also a very important element of social life, so working independently from your computer is difficult to do without.

Your connections with your colleagues and your image are just as important as your performance - primarily for team acceptance and career development. So even if you've completed all your tasks for the day, it's best to stick around and have an extra chat with a colleague.

Professional work

France is more suited to those who are stable in their profession.

Specialisation is encouraged, in contrast to some other countries where flexibility and breadth of knowledge matter more. So the further you advance in your career, the harder it will be to change your field.

Additionally your diploma, as well as your university reputation, are important in your job search - it would be very difficult to find skilled work outside your profession. It's better to be prepared for this if you've decided to live in France, for instance, but you're not yet sure about your chosen career.


The French are very fond of their culture and it's important to them that you strive to learn it too. In the beginning, for example during your studies, it is possible to find a job in English speaking international companies. But if you want to advance in your career, you will have to learn to speak French almost like a native speaker. The situation is different at managerial level and in some areas such as IT.


Hierarchy and respect for those above you in an organisation are extremely important in French culture. Even though at first glance, communication might seem quite simple and "horizontal"!

Even if the boss invites you to lunch at the same table and is open to personal topics, it is vital that you respect the chain of command.

Continuing education system

Managers in France appreciate and make every effort to ensure that staff members are continually updating their skills. Think seriously about signing up for additional courses, attending conferences, learning from industry peers, make potential employers aware of your efforts.

The social component

France is ideal for people who like to socialise. Local companies are happy to discuss personal topics between jobs.

It is very important, especially at first, to attend coffee breaks - not just one or two a day, but practically all of them.

How to prepare a CV

The French have a great respect for documents, so your resume must be in good order. Use a resume structure like this:

  1. Career objective and a brief personal description (Profile)
  2. Work experience
  3. Education

You should definitely not put your salary expectations in your resume, it is better not to specify marital status or other personal details. Nationality can also be omitted.

Volunteer experience, on the other hand, is welcomed by French employers. So if you have any, be sure to mention it. Graduates are allowed to mention internships and summer jobs, even if you have not worked at all in your profession.

If you have under 10 years of work experience, it is best to limit your CV to one page. If you are applying for a management position then you can extend your CV to 1.5 pages.

Write your CV in French even if you don't know the language well yet. Just ask a friend or any other French person to check your mistakes to avoid misunderstandings.

Even if you honestly admit to a low level of fluency on your CV, a CV in French will give you a hundred points over other candidates.

Nina Shevchenko

How to get a job interview

Stick to the general code of conduct for interviews throughout Europe but also be aware of the peculiarities of interviews in France.

  • Do not expect personal questions. They will not even be hinted at in the vast majority of situations.
  • Do not ask about the salary at the beginning of the interview or even in the first stages of the selection process. If a candidate asks about the salary at the beginning of the interview, they are immediately ruled out. In France, due to cultural codes, money matters are very rarely discussed openly. It is better to wait until you are asked about salary expectations, or to bring up the topic yourself towards the end of the recruitment process.
  • Be sure to check the current salaries for your role and experience before the interview. Ideally, talk about minimum and maximum salary expectations to show your openness. But be sure to stay within what the market dictates.

To feel more confident with recruiters, practice answering questions. Get some friends to help and ask you the most difficult and tricky ones, for example:

- "What makes you stand out from all the other candidates? Why should we hire you?"

- "What are your biggest weaknesses?"

- "Why are you looking for a new job?"

Main types of work visas in France

We've described how to find a job in France while in the country because it's the most effective method of finding employment. Even if you plan to study in the country first - for example a Master's programme - you will be able to enter it at minimal cost (from €3,770 per year, which does not compare to £12,000-30,000 in the UK!).

During your studies you will be able to get a full-time job with a tripartite contract between you, your employer and the university.

Still, there are cases where people find jobs without coming to the country in advance. The following types of visas allow you to work in France:

Blue Card

This visa is granted in certain cases: particularly if you are highly qualified, if you want to set up a business, become an investor in France or if you are a member of a creative industry.

Higher education, at least 5 years' work experience and a contract of at least 1 year are essential for highly qualified staff. In this case, the salary must be at least €53,836 per year. If you join an innovative company, your salary requirements are reduced to €39,494 per year.

Basic documents for Blue Card and immigration to France:

  • Application form for long-term visa to France
  • 2 photos;
  • Passport;
  • Copies of old visas;
  • Health insurance;
  • Proof of absence of criminal record;
  • Rental agreement;
  • Proof of payment of visa fee.

Seasonal Worker Visa

Intended for workers in the service sector and agriculture. In order to obtain a visa, you need to provide proof of a contract offer of 3 to 6 months.

Your employer must submit an online application for a work permit.

He must provide the following documents:

  • A letter explaining the hiring of the employee and detailing the functions the employee will perform;
  • A copy of your passport or identity document if you reside abroad;
  • Proof of search for the candidate on the French market;
  • Proof of the employee's qualifications and experience (e.g. copies of diplomas);
  • A number of company documents.

The employee's request for a visa must include a work permit sent by the employer.

Key conclusions about finding a job in France

  • France is a country where a large part of the work process is based on communication and cultural traditions.
  • International work experience or experience in French companies will help you find a job faster in the country.
  • In France it is especially important to know the language or at least aspire to do so.
  • Moving to France will be easier if you have an in-demand and/or unusual profession.
  • If you do not have an EU passport and need a work permit, the best ways to migrate to France are through study or transfer within a company.
  • When applying to a company, do not discuss salary expectations initially , it should only be done during the last stages of the selection process.

Source: EP Advisory

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